Harding wins; visits Twinsburg Friday in sectional bracket final
WARREN — Warren G. Harding broke open a slow-moving game with a big second quarter, starting its Division I tournament trek with a 51-26 victory Wednesday over Hudson.
In the first quarter, the game moved at a snail’s pace as Hudson (5-18) held the ball for around 45 seconds each possession to try and slow the Raiders (17-6) down.
For the most part it worked as Harding led just 8-5 after one quarter. The Explorers were just where they wanted to be but couldn’t capitalize on it.
Harding started out the second quarter on a 5-0 run punctuated by a Delmar Moore steal-and-slam to put the Raiders up by eight. That caused a timeout by Hudson.
“I thought they shot the ball well. I thought the key was the couple of turnovers got them in transition and got some easy buckets,” Hudson coach Jeff Brink said. “The key was that three or four minutes where they hit three or four 3s was the game.”
After the timeout, the Raiders continued to build the lead as Trivell Trimble hit two 3-pointers and Chris Hughes also made two 3-pointers over the next few minutes to balloon the lead. Hudson needed a timeout again at the 2:50 mark in the quarter as Harding was out to a 25-9 lead.
Harding led at halftime, 31-11, behind Trimble’s 11 points and Hughes’ nine points. William Wallace had four points for the Explorers.
“It’s great to do. It’s about my teammates and how hard we work,” D’Muntize Owens said of Harding’s defensive performance. “I know Dom (McGhee) is our leading scorer. We had Delmar out for 11 games so we have dealt with that before.”
McGhee did not play in this game.
In the third quarter, Harding struggled to score the ball as it added just seven points, but Hudson couldn’t take advantage as it scored just 10 points in the quarter. Harding led 38-21 after three quarters.
“That was a really slow-paced game. A lot of 26 points was from some long possessions in that first quarter. I would and have done the same thing before,” Harding coach Andy Vlajkovich said. “We kind of got the rhythm going a bit and were trapping a bit. In the third quarter, we were sloppy and didn’t shoot the ball well. We were 3 of 13 in the quarter.”
Vlajkovich said that the Raiders were getting good looks throughout the game but they have to avoid third quarters like the one they had Wednesday.
Harding finished out the game strong, outscoring Hudson, 13-5, in the fourth quarter.
Harding now will go on the road to face Twinsburg in a DI sectional bracket final at 7 p.m.